Photo credit: BarclaysBankGhana

Too often we feel that we are too young to write a will and that writing a will is only something to be done when you are retired and closer to your grave. But according to Lawyers Mr Prempeh-Eck ( Director for Legal Education & Director at the Ghana School of Law) and Mr Shadrack Arhin, this is actually a wrong mindset we have, rather it should be at a much younger age instead of the dying moments of our lives. The two lawyers recently presented on the subject of “Your Legacy, Our Concern and Preservation of Your Legacy” at a Barclays Bank Ghana Affluent Cocktail event held at Alisa Hotel for select Barclays customers. 

The event is one of many value-adding events being rolled out by the bank to provide value for their customers. It’s really indeed a bold step being taken by the bank as a way of creating stronger relationships with their customers through the provision of valuable lifestyle information to enrich lives. 

The event was well attended by both young and old Ghanaians who had several questions to ask regarding the writing of a will and other conflicts which arise out of the disbursement of assets when a will is read. 

 

Mr. Kwesi Eck of Ghana School of Law took invited guests through the foundational Scriptures regarding ‘leaving your house in order’ just in case you have any doubts of whether you should or should not write a will and examples of bizarre wills others have left behind. 

 

Noteworthy points from the presentation included:

  1. Listing all of one’s assets before the first visit to see a lawyer. This includes anything owned by purchase, gift or inheritance. This excludes jointly owned property (even if owned jointly with spouse) and family property. Include all personally owned bank account details. 
  2. Note down all children’s names as per their mother’s name to avoid any confusion as to which child the will could be referring to. E.g To Kwadwo Ohene, son of Mrs Maame Serwah Ofei I leave… To Kwadwo Ohene, son of Mrs Efia Gyampoh I leave…
  3. Choose an executor of your will. This should be someone who’s a confidante. This could be your spouse or your spouse and a confidante.
  4. When choosing a witness, ensure they aren’t also beneficiaries of your assets. 
  5. Leaving nothing for your spouse doesn’t mean they will not be beneficiaries. The Wills Act can be stated to provide for them as deemed fit. 
  6. Write a will whilst you are young and of sound mind instead of waiting till you are too old or suffering from some form of ailment. Your relatives could argue the fact that you were senile whilst writing the will hence the property’s should be disbursed in their favour. 

 

In a culture where some men are polygamous, having a will which shares assets specifically prevents chaos in the family. An example is where a man has 5 children and owns 2 houses; he should specifically state in the will which house belongs to whom or which rooms in the house should be given to which child. A vague statement to say that both houses belongs to the 5 children will only lead to long-term chaos and family discordancy. 

 

The Q&A session saw many customers asking pertinent personal questions on their experience of wills and the disbursement of assets. There seemed to be a common agreement that this event was valuable to clients who were pleased to also know that CD’s would be made available at the end of the event. 

Follow the rest of the events via the bank’s Twitter account and the hashtag #BarclaysExperience.